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Lenten Rose

Helleborus orientalis

This handsome garden perennial is native to Asia Minor, Greece, and Turkey. Although it was possibly the tall, reddish-flowered Hellebore described by Philip Miller in his Gardeners Dictionary of 1754, the Lenten Rose was not commonly cultivated until the early 19th century. Hellebore is an ancient term for a plant supposed to cure insanity. Like Christmas Rose (H. niger), Lenten Rose is an extremely long-lived plant when well situated.

A hardy, late-winter to early-spring flowering perennial, Lenten Rose displays greenish-white flowers marked with red or dark purple on 12 to 18-inch stalks above previous season's foliage.  Its handsome, leathery leaves form a large mound in the garden up to 2-feet across.  It prefers light shade and limestone-rich garden loam and can be divided in fall.

Growth Type: 
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
Location at Monticello: 
East Front
Planting Conditions: 
Blooming History: 
2002 Feb 21 to 2002 May 62003 Mar 7 to 2003 Apr 222004 Feb 13 to 2004 Apr 232005 Feb 9 to 2005 Apr 262006 Mar 1 to 2006 Apr 282007 Feb 16 to 2007 Apr 62008 Feb 11 to 2008 Jun 242009 Feb 23 to 2009 May 112010 Mar 13 to 2010 Jun 92011 Feb 8 to 2011 May 222012 Mar 9 to 2012 Jun 222013 Feb 25 to 2013 Jul 162014 Feb 24 to 2014 Jun 152015 Mar 2 to 2015 Jul 142016 Feb 26 to 2016 Jun 17
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Lenten Rose.


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